This Is Neoliberalism

Neoliberalism is an economic ideology that exists within the framework of capitalism. Over four decades ago, neoliberalism become the dominant economic paradigm of global society. This series traces the history of neoliberalism, starting with a survey of neoliberal philosophy and research, a historical reconstruction of the movement pushing for neoliberal policy solutions, witnessing the damage that neoliberalism did to its first victims in the developing world, and then charting neoliberalism’s infiltration of the political systems of the United States and the United Kingdom. Learn how neoliberalism is generating crises for humanity at an unprecedented rate.

Series

Neoliberalism is an economic ideology that exists within the framework of capitalism. Over four decades ago, neoliberalism became the dominant economic paradigm of global society. In this series, we’ll trace the history of neoliberalism, starting with a survey of neoliberal philosophy and research, a historical reconstruction of the movement pushing for neoliberal policy solutions, witnessing the damage that neoliberalism did to its first victims in the developing world, and then charting neoliberalism’s infiltration of the political systems of the United States and the United Kingdom. Learn how neoliberalism is generating crises for humanity at an unprecedented rate.

Neoliberalism was a reaction. It was an effort to disassemble a previous vision of society that once held sway over most of the world. In order to understand neoliberalism, it’s important to first understand the world before neoliberalism; the world which neoliberalism considered unacceptable, and in need of urgent reconfiguration. In part two, learn about the world of embedded liberalism.

The story of neoliberalism is a story about the power of ideas. Embedded liberalism was in power, but it was not without resistance. Academics and businessmen who opposed the New Deal and British social democracy were only begrudgingly accepting of the situation at best, or on the warpath against government intervention in the economy at worst. These two factions allied with one another to create an idea so powerful that it would covertly undo their losses to embedded liberalism by supplanting it entirely. This is where the story of neoliberalism begins.

In 1939, a fragile world which had just begun to climb out of the depths of global economic depression, and ended the first truly global war in recorded history only 25 years earlier, peered downward into an abyss blacker than any it had ever glimpsed before. By the close of the 1940’s, global civilization was sitting on one of the most profound inflection points in all of human history. Much, but not all of the world, was about to experience unprecedented prosperity under embedded liberalism, and the ideals of social democracy had never been more ascendant. However, the truth was that the post-war consensus was far from safe. It was within this tension, between the magnificent gains of social democracy and the hostile road laid before it, that Hayek and the Mont Pelerin Society were poised to begin dissolving the ground beneath all opponents of neoliberalism.